Cheryl Cole was at the centre of a race row last night after failing to put a black contestant through to the X Factor final despite admitting that she had an outstanding voice.
On Sunday, Mrs Cole decided that Gamu Nhengu, who had been one of the favourites to win the ITV talent show, would not go through to the last 12.
After selecting two contestants who had trouble with their auditions - Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel - Cheryl told the 18-year-old Zimbabwean: ‘You are extremely adorable.
The four judges have each been given a ‘wild card’ entry that will allow them to bring their favourite reject back for the live finals, which will begin on Saturday.
Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue and Louis Walsh had each selected three hopefuls to go through last weekend.
The wild card means that they will all be able to pick one extra contestant from their groups.
Their decisions will be announced on Saturday’s show.
The Daily Mail can reveal that Cheryl has not asked Gamu to return.
Producers made the decision after being impressed by the standard of contestants on this year’s show.
However, an X Factor source said Simon has been keen to spice up the format with ‘wild card’ finalists for several years and that he has decided to implement the stunt after being convinced it will become a ratings winner.
After hearing Cheryl's decision on Sunday night, which was watched by a huge 16.2million viewers - a record at this stage in the competition, and more than tuned in to the 2008 final - critics bombarded social networking websites with complaints. 'Twitter user, Reggie_Raye, said: ‘Every African mum in the country blamed Cheryl’s decision on racism, I know mine did.’Another, frank_wh17e, wrote: ‘Is it me or is racism still alive?
Britain's Got Talen star Amanda Holden ranted on her Twitter: 'Very shocked to see Gamu not thru. 'This Morning presenter Holly Willoughby added: 'If Gamu does come back as a wildcard she could go on and win it. ’One message repeated on the site read: ‘Cheryl is so daft.
I mean, just because Africa gave you malaria doesn’t mean you should take it out on poor Gamu.’Mrs Cole, 27, was seriously ill with malaria this summer after a trip to Tanzania in the wake of the collapse of her marriage to footballer Ashley Cole over his infidelity. I swear to God, African-Americans would go mental.’On the Facebook group ‘I hate Cheryl Cole! ’, set up yesterday, Morgan Michaela Davis wrote: ‘I don’t want to see racist people as judges on X Factor so I’ve complained to [regulator] Ofcom to have her sacked!
A fan on Digital Spy’s forum wrote: ‘If these decisions were made on U. Everyone should do the same.’Yesterday, show sources said the X Factor racism claims had deeply upset Mrs Cole.